...boiling a potato...no steelhead biting
on the wintry river... near the trellis...
3 miles past the town's midway
... feet and hands numb..
a man alone stands..
olive green branches reach
over the leaky shack's roof
in the frozen rainy gloam...
stoking the fire sends embers swirling..
but only so far..the blackened coffee pot lukewarm,
it's contents bitter...
an unreeling film of smoke,
like a sinuous ballet dancer..
twirls upward....bugs skitter ..
from the bonfire toward the slippery
rocky shore..unlucky... rising water engulfs them..
propping his fishing rod between
dirt packed boulders,
he puts the lid cover on his bait jar..
removes the drenched slicker..
and....hunching his shoulders..
he sheds layers of weighty wet clothes ..
hangs his belt with his caps .
by the old guitar
he rests his legs on the dumped worn out
ottoman...sitting in the found brown
a planked muddy floor catches his boots..
a whiff of urine from somewhere
the last train of the night squeaks
and rumbles by...
causing his head on the torn pillow
to shake from side to side..
...so the scale had tipped too far at last....
unheard of in hobo lore..
of a man with a doctorate
living here in this hell station...
he can quote Shakespeare,
knows his jazz..plays the pipes...
..once had a decent golf handicap
he knows the wetland nearby by heart...
..animal friends hide there.
an aged man, inclined to intoxication..
..his closest neighbors,
native Americans, live on the
other side of the expanding river..
miles around the bend
trousers heavily laden upon his body,
he feels the big melancholy wave rising...
water slaps loudly against itself..
outside, it begins to snow
...he laments he lost sight ..made mistakes..
"..but don't we all?" .....but the darkest days
are behind him.... he had, just in time,
saved his soul..
he had seen the world, had a good and varied life
but it took years of pain to shed true light
on his plight and again take control
..then he smiles
and lights a cigarette in the dark..
...'cave men had it better,' he mused
'Noah had an ark'
One thing, though, he surely knows,
as a single heated tear wells...
that pressed in his favorite book
...is a single dusty red rose..
for him it holds all his memories
..to draw on...
......until life comes to a close